We are no strangers to daily challenges. Currently, on any given social media feed you can find the Push Up Challenge for Veterans. The 15 day Post a Picture of your Graduate. The 15 day picture post for Grandmas…The Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS was wildly successful and popular…What about a challenge for our mental health?
Who’s ready for this challenge? It might be hard…I guess that’s why they call it a challenge! Mental Health often has a negative connotation and can feel almost shaming. It can makes us feel weak and vulnerable that we just can’t handle life. That is a false! Mental Health is not about our flaws but about the ways we can become strong…just like going to the gym or eating our fair serving of vegetables! Let’s flip the way we think about the health of our psychological and emotional parts. When we connect our mind and body, we can really become a well oiled machine!
Here we go… Our 15 Day Mental Health Challenge
- Just breathe…I know we do it without thinking all day, but today, breathe while thinking about it. Breathe deeply in and let it out slowly. Feel the calming rhythm. As you let it out, imagine the weight on your shoulders getting lighter and lighter. Breathing is pretty cool when you are actually aware of it!
- Focus on the moment. Don’t spend day two living in yesterday or borrowing worry from tomorrow. Just be in whatever you discover this moment holds.
- Create a musical playlist that calms you, energizes you, invigorates you, empowers you…whatever it is you need. Play that music…May I offer some suggestions? The long flowing measures of Bach help slow your anxious mind. The excitement of Mozart will energize us and excite the waves of the brain to wake us up. Whatever rhythm you surround yourself with, your body will adjust to.
- Move your body…stress anxiety tends to get stuck in our minds…move it on through by moving your body. Engage in a little dance off in the kitchen with your kids. Take up Yoga or simply go for a walk.
- Create a quiet corner. Sometimes, all we really need a little moment of peace and quiet. Find such a place and claim it as your quiet place where you can refuel your mind and set down the burdens you carry.
- Connect with a trusted friend. Sometimes, in the hustle of living, we let go of the most important connections we have in lieu of other more pressing tasks but certainly less important. Re-establish those healthy connections. Being isolated is hard on us and creates undo stress.
- Start a gratitude journal. Don’t just name the things in life you grateful for, write them down. Things are so easily and quickly lost in our brains. When they are written down, they can be easily reviewed on the days when everything seems to be going wrong.
- Write down all the ways you can grow regardless of your the situation that surrounds us. Shifting your perspective is a valuable tool we often neglect.
- Step away from social media, news, tv and anything else that distracts you in unhealthy ways. Have you ever noticed a 24 hour absence from social media results in nothing? You literally miss nothing!
- Discover a new hobby. Find a way to be creative. Did you know that creativity resides in the same area of the brain as anxiety? Hmmm…maybe all that worry and wonder just needs an outlet to create.
- Practice setting and keeping healthy boundaries. For some people pleasers, this may come as a surprise but the word NO, can actually be a complete sentence. Now, if you need to, you can add “No, thank you.” or “No, not today.” but you don’t have to say ‘NO’ and follow up with any kind of explanation. Like most things, this is easier said than done but just for today, practice it a little.
- Go to bed an hour early. For reals…don’t say your going to bed and then finish your ToDo list on the way. Just go to bed.
- Select a new mantra or inspiring quote or thought. Post it in a place where you will be reminded of it daily.
- Make a list of all of your accomplishments that make you proud. It’s easy to forget how far we’ve come.
- Ask for help. A good mental health practice is understanding that we weren’t created to be islands, merely existing alone. We were meant to be together. If you are struggling to find your emotional footing, ask for help. This is a positive move and should be the first thing we consider when we find ourselves a little bruised or even a little broken. Reach out. Don’t suffer in silence.
We hope that something on this list finds it’s way to your life and it provides you with at least a moment or two of respite. We need one another, now more than ever.